Category: Immigration

Olens: Governor Deal Cannot Block Syrian Refugee Resettlement

Following the November terrorist attack in Paris, Governor Deal issued an executive order that was intended to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Georgia. In an interview with reporters earlier this month, Deal indicated he might file a lawsuit against the feds to prevent Syrian resettlement, and would order a defense by the state against any federal lawsuit arising from the state’s unwillingness to aid in the resettlement process.

However, Governor Deal also asked Attorney General Sam Olens to issue an opinion on whether Syrian refugee resettlement could be blocked. That opinion was issued today. In it, Olens said that blocking refugees from a specific country was not permissible under the law:

Essentially, and to the extent it is read most broadly, the scope of the executive order is limited by two things: (1) federal law and the Supremacy Clause and (2) the terms of its voluntary agreement with the federal government to participate in, and accept federal funding relating to, the Refugee Resettlement Program. I am unaware of any law or agreement that would permit a state to carve out refugees from particular countries from participation in the refugee resettlement program, no matter how well-intended or justified the desire to carve out such refugees might be. Accordingly, it is my official opinion that both federal law and the State’s agreement to act as the state refugee resettlement coordinator prevent the State from denying federally-funded benefits to Syrian refugees lawfully admitted into the United States.

In his opinion, Olens indicated he shared the governor’s concerns, and hoped that the federal government would do its best to scrutinize incoming refugees.

[T]he executive order responds to serious concerns about recent terrorist attacks linked to the ongoing conflict in Syria, concerns that legitimately extend to the current federal process for reviewing and accepting refugees from Syria into the United States and, more specifically, into the State of Georgia. I share those concerns and similarly hope that the federal government will take all necessary and appropriate steps to assure that all refugees, regardless of country of origin, be carefully scrutinized to ensure the safety of our citizens.

The governor’s office is reviewing Olens’s opinion.

Broadway Recognizes Georgia’s Favorite Dueling Immigrant

In 1776, three Georgians – Lyman Hall, George Walton, and Button Gwinnett – signed the Declaration of independence. Each lives on, most notably through the counties that bear their surnames. When you visit the Georgia State Capitol, you can see the marble bust of each one in the rotunda.

What do we know about Button Gwinnett? It’s been written that Gwinnett is great, success lives there, and in at least one Gwinnett city, everyone is somebody. However, unlike his co-signers from the thirteenth colony, Gwinnett wasn’t even born here – he was an immigrant – and he died in a duel with Lachlan McIntosh in May of 1777 following a disagreement over securing Georgia’s southern border. Gwinnett wanted to invade Florida; McIntosh disagreed and asserted that Gwinnett’s scheme was politically motivated. (Maybe it would have been easier to just build a fence?)

Revolutionary-era immigrants who died in a duel with a political rival are kind of a thing right now – perhaps I’ve mentioned it? – so it only stands to reason that our man Bilbo Giblin Button Gwinnett is ready for his turn in the spotlight. It took a South Carolinian and a New Yorker (and a beat-boxing New Orleanian) to get the job done, and for that, we raise a glass to Stephen Colbert and Lin-Manuel Miranda for their one-song musical. Ladies, prepare to defend thine Button-holes:

Gov. Deal Is Concerned About New Syrian Refugees; Enthusiastic About Proposed Transportation Projects

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal expressed his frustration with the federal government’s handling of the Syrian refugee issue, and dropped several hints about transportation projects he expects to be revealed at the start of the legislative session in January. Deal spoke to reporters this afternoon after keynoting the 30th annual meeting of the Council for Quality Growth.

At least three Syrian refugees have arrived in the Peach State after the governor expressed his opposition to taking on new refugees over terrorism concerns. Deal was asked about providing food stamps for to the new refugees, and said he wants to take a wait and see attitude. He complained that the United States government doesn’t tell officials in Georgia who the refugees are and where they are. Deal said, “The only way we know they are actually here is when they show up and apply for food stamps. There’s something wrong with that.”

The state of Texas has filed a lawsuit in an effort to block incoming Syrian refugees from entering that state. When Governor Nathan Deal was asked if he would be willing to file a similar suit on behalf of Georgia, he said, “If they keep prodding me, I might, and it appears they are willing to keep prodding.” The governor pointed out that in the end, the SNAP program (food stamps) is ultimately a federal responsibility. “It’s their program. If they don’t like the way we do it, let them come in and run it. We’ll hand it over to them.”

On the possibility of the federal government filing a lawsuit against the state over the issue as it has indicated it might, Deal said he was ready to defend against it, although he would prefer to spend the defense money elsewhere.

On a brighter note, the governor went into a little more detail about new transportation projects he had hinted were coming in his address to the Council for Quality Growth. The project list will include all the regions within the state. “I anticipate having a map of the entire state of Georgia,” Deal said, that will “show all of the projects both in the metro as well as those that are outside the metro region that are going to be done with the extra money.”

One reason that money will be available for new transportation projects is because the federal government will have passed a long range transportation funding bill. President Obama is expected to sign the measure today. The federal money the state will receive can be used for some of the maintenance and repair projects that were originally planned to be paid for with money from the state’s 2015 Transportation Funding Act. That allows state dollars to be used for new projects that will cost less than if they were constructed with federal dollars.

Pleased to see a longer transportation bill at the federal level, Governor Deal said, “I wait to see what all the details of that might include, but that’s an indication that at least Congress understands the importance of the transportation bill and the funding that’s necessary for keeping our infrastructure in place.”

The governor didn’t indicate the size and scope of the project list, but said he had seen a proposed list. His opinion? “I think its going to probably be the biggest visible evidence of tax reform and the results of it that we have seen in this state in a very very long time.”

Sen. McKoon Prefiles Senate Rules Change on Recording Amendment Votes

Comes now the first prefiled Senate resolution for the 2016 session, proposed by Sen. Josh McKoon. SR 674 is seven lines long in its original form:

1 Amending the Rules of the Senate; and for other purposes.
2 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE that the Rules of the Senate are amended by adding
3 a new subsection to Rule 5-1.3, relating to voting, to read as follows:
4 “(f) Unless the members of the Senate by unanimous consent otherwise agree, each floor
5 amendment offered for adoption with regard to a bill or resolution being considered by the
6 Senate shall be voted upon by a roll-call vote and the results of which shall be entered into
7 the Journal.”

The origin and purpose of this resolution goes back to the closing hours of the 2015 session. The Senate was proceeding through a marathon calendar of bills, including a House cleanup bill that made Georgia drivers licenses conform to federal requirements. That was an opportunity for Sen. McKoon to attempt to amend the bill by adding the provisions of SB 6 to it.

SB 6 would eliminate a loophole that allows those illegal immigrants who are covered under President Obama’s DACA program (and proposed DAPA program) to receive Georgia drivers licenses. Under DACA, these immigrants get taxpayer ID numbers and other documentation that would currently qualify them to obtain licenses. The bill was referred to the Public Safety committee, where it still sits, awaiting action.

According to current Senate rules, the motion to amend is subject to a hand vote, rather than a recorded one. And according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the amendment failed, 27-16. The issue of illegal immigration, as anyone following the GOP presidential race knows, is an important one to the GOP base. Senators know that their proceedings are broadcast live and archived on video. Theoretically, that means that one could determine who voted for or against an amendment by looking at the video of the hand vote. But, Senators also know that there are places within the chamber that are out of or almost out of camera view, but visible from the Chair. And so, some retreated to the back of the room so the way they voted on McKoon’s amendment couldn’t be seen, or made other movements to make it difficult to track how they voted.

Upset that what amounted to being an unrecorded no vote on SB 6, anti-illegal immigration activists made it a point to have the April GOP district conventions and the May state convention vote on resolutions of support for SB 6, and requiring recorded votes for Senate amendments. In July, Sen. McKoon announced plans to strengthen SB6, as well as to introduce a Senate rules change to require the recorded votes.

And that brings us to SR 674. Unlike the House, where most proposed amendments are vetted by the Rules Committee, amendments to bills in the Senate can be introduced on the fly, and it’s not unusual to have multiple amendments to a bill under consideration. As one senator points out, requiring machine votes would slow down Senate proceedings even more than they are now. On the other hand, the issues of accountability and anger that elected officials don’t keep their promises have been cited as factors driving the rise of outsider candidates in the 2016 elections. Qualifying for each of the State Senate seats starts March 6th. Time will tell if this amendment will be a big issue in the eyes of Republican voters.

GBPI Pushes In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students

On Tuesday, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute released a six page white paper calling on the Peach State to offer in-state college tuition to undocumented immigrants who are eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program instituted by President Obama. The think tank, which typically takes positions on the left side of the ideological scale, cites Georgia’s interest in creating a diverse workforce, Governor Deal’s push to grow the number of college graduates, and the potential tax revenue that could be gained from having Dreamers in the state’s workforce.

In its report, GBPI estimates there are 49,000 undocumented immigrants in Georgia eligible for the DACA program. 40% of those are high school graduates eligible to enter college, and almost two thirds are bilingual. It points out that the Complete College Georgia initiative calls for an additional quarter million college graduates to meet workforce needs by 2020. The report estimates that around 5,000 Dreamers would be part of that total if they could receive in-state tuition. In addition, the report points out that these graduates would further the state’s goal of making college graduates more representative of the state’s diversity. Finally, the paper estimates a $10 million increase in annual state tax revenue if once these DACA-eligible immigrants enter the workforce.

Impact of Illegal Immigration in GeorgiaThe GBPI report provides an interesting contrast to a graphic created by the Federation for American Immigration Reform that is making its way around social media. That graphic, shown at right, is based on reports issued by the right-leaning group citing the fiscal burden of illegal immigration on United States and Georgia taxpayers.

The FAIR report estimates that illegal immigration cost Georgians $2.4 billion annually and that immigrants contribute only $142 million in taxes, leaving a net cost to taxpayers of $2.26 billion, or $768 per household. 74% of that, however, is the estimated cost of educating the illegal and American-born children of illegal immigrants, at $1.67 billion. Both the Georgia Constitution and Supreme Court precedent require the state to provide a K-12 education to anyone residing in the state, regardless of legal status. Read more

Senator McKoon Proposes Stricter Regulation of Illegal Immigrants

D.A. King of the Dustin Inman Society, Major Kirk Williamson of the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department, and State Senator Josh McKoon of Columbus listen to Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren at Wednesday's press conference.  Photo: Jon Richards
D.A. King of the Dustin Inman Society, Major Kirk Williamson of the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department,
and State Senator Josh McKoon of Columbus listen to Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren at Wednesday’s press conference.
Photo: Jon Richards

Columbus State Senator Josh McKoon held a Capitol Hill press conference Wednesday morning to present two proposals he intends to introduce at the start of the 2016 legislative session. One deals with a rewrite of Senate Bill 6, which eliminates the issuing of drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. The other would eliminate the practice of hand voting in the Senate. The two measures mirror resolutions offered at Republican District conventions this spring.

Senate Bill 6 never made it out of committee during the 2015 session. McKoon’s rewrite of the bill would strengthen the measure in four areas. It would more clearly define the term “sanctuary cities,” and it would establish a registry of criminal illegal immigrants similar to the sex offender registry already in place. It would clarify that the intent of the legislature is to prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving in-state tuition at schools within the university system, or the technical college system, or receiving Hope scholarships. It would also prohibit undocumented immigrrants from practicing law or becoming a licensed professional employed in a public school. Read more

Appeals Court Affirms Injunction on “Executive Amnesty”

President Obama’s executive actions to expand the programs that would allow more than five million unlawful immigrants to obtain work permits and drivers licenses received another delay on Tuesday, as a panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to halt an injunction imposed by a district court that put the president’s plans on hold. While the administration could ask that the injunction be reviewed by the entire circuit court, it’s more likely that the next stop will be the U.S. Supreme Court.

A portion of the court’s decision reads,

The United States has not demonstrated that it “will be irreparably injured absent a stay.” . . . It claims that the injunction offends separation of powers and federalism, but it is the resolution of the case on the merits, not whether the injunction is stayed pending appeal, that will affect those principles.

The states have shown that “issuance of the stay will substantially injure” them. A stay would enable [Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents] beneficiaries to apply for driver’s licenses and other benefits, and it would be difficult for the states to retract those benefits or recoup their costs even if they won on the merits.

The state of Georgia was one of 26 states in the original suit that alleges President Obama does not have the power to grant legal residence and other benefits to such a wide group of people in the country illegally. Attorney General Sam Olens, speaking to those in attendance at the Walton County GOP BBQ Tuesday night, hailed the decision as a victory, and he issued the following statement in a press advisory: Read more

GOP Resolutions Opposing Illegal Immigration Are Not a Smart Long Term Strategy

Georgia Republicans held their Congressional District conventions on Saturday, with the purpose of electing leadership for the next two years, passing party rules, and considering resolutions of support or opposition to various public policies. In the Seventh District, which covers portions of Gwinnett and Forsyth counties, three resolutions were introduced dealing in some form with the issue of illegal immigration.

The first resolution supports banning the issuance of driver’s licenses for illegal aliens. Its goal mirrors that of Senate Bill 6, pre-filed before the start of the 2015 session by Senator Josh McKoon of Columbus. McKoon authored the legislation in anticipation of President Obama’s expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to cover a much broader range of undocumented immigrants. Current law allows immigrants accepted into the DACA program to obtain the licenses; McKoon’s measure would end that option.

Senate Bill 6 was assigned to the Public Safety Committee, where it never got a hearing. As the 40 day session drew to a close, Senator McKoon attempted to attach his bill to a separate measure also dealing with drivers licenses. His motion failed. The failure of the Senate to approve his motion was the subject of an inflammatory article on the Breitbart Big Government website. That was the reason for the second resolution, which would require all Senate votes to be recorded by the chamber’s voting machine. McKoon’s amendment, like most that are offered in the Senate, was voted on by a show of hands.

The third resolution urges the General Assembly to approve a constitutional amendment making English the official language of the state of Georgia. A bill to do just that was introduced during the 2014 session by then-Senator Don Balfour. Senate Resolution 1031 would require virtually all state business–including the issuance of driver’s licenses–to be conducted in English.

The three resolutions were approved by the GOP delegates in the Seventh, which is the most diverse congressional district in the eastern United States. Similar resolutions were introduced and passed in other districts as well. Their passage positions the Republican Party as nativists, a position that can’t help but hurt the party and the state of Georgia’s prospects in the long run. Read more

At Emory University, Undocumented Students Become Eligible for Financial Aid

Decatur’s Emory University will begin offering financial aid to some undocumented immigrants who qualify for President Obama’ Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Although the size and scope of the measure is still unknown, it marks a milestone for the young adults known as “Dreamers,” who were brought to the United States as children by their parents.

Supporters of Emory’s decision say Georgia’s efforts to restrict access to its state universities are self-defeating. They point out that state taxpayers have invested in students such as [Uruguay native and Berkmar High School graduate Valentina] Garcia by giving them a public school education. They also say such students could contribute more to Georgia’s economy if they were able to attend colleges here.

Shawn Hanley, the vice chairman of Georgia’s Immigration Enforcement Review Board, said he doesn’t agree with Emory’s decision and wants to learn more about what it intends to do. Noting Emory is a private institution, Hanley said he is particularly concerned about granting immigrants without legal status access to taxpayer-supported universities.

“This gives us hope,” said Garcia, who joined a coalition of Emory students and others in pushing for the change at the university. “This is an amazing win for the undocumented student movement.”

The issue is a sensitive one for the almost 20,000 Georgia residents eligible for the DACA program. The Board of Regents does not allow them to pay in-state tuition, nor does it allow undocumented students to attend a state university where demand for enrollment by residents exceeds the supply of slots available. That policy applies to the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, and two other universities.

A lawsuit filed last year in Fulton County Superior Court sought to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition The 39 students who filed the suit lost in the Superior and Appeals courts because the Board of Regents was held to have sovereign immunity against suits of this type. The issue is now before the Georgia Supreme Court.

Meanwhile a legislative fix to the problem in the form of Senate Bill 44, sponsored by Democrat Nan Orrock, got a hearing by the Senate Higher Education Committee. The bill would extend in-state tuition to immigrants qualifying for the DACA program. Chairman Fran Millar refused to allow a vote on the measure, however, because of the pending litigation.

At the moment, the Board of Regents indicates it won’t change its policies based on Emory’s decision. Down the road, however, could the Emory move, a resolution of the Dreamers’ lawsuit, or more cases like this lead to a change in the way the state deals with undocumented students?

Hice and Loudermilk Vote Against Clean DHS Funding Resolution

The big question in Washington today was whether the Department of Homeland Security was going to get funded past tonight’s deadline, and if it did, would the funding bill have restrictions preventing President Obama’s executive order allowing additional illegal immigrants to get work permits and driver’s licenses under an expanded DACA and the new DAPA program.

After the Senate passed a clean funding bill that did not block the so-called “Executive Amnesty,” House leaders tried to buy time by pressing for passage of a three week short-term funding bill for DHS. As the AJC’s Daniel Malloy reports, the effort failed, and Georgia Congressmen Jody Hice and Barry Loudermilk were the only Georgia congressmen voting against GOP leadership on the bill.

Hice and Loudermilk waited a long time before casting their “no” votes, as GOP leaders tried to cajole various members. Hice voted last, after chief deputy whip Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., came by and whispered in his ear.

Later, Hice and Loudermilk were summoned into the Republican cloakroom but did not change their votes.

For all of those who threatened to impeach the two freshmen congressmen when they voted in favor of John Boehner as Speaker of the House last month: it appears that both have learned their lesson.

After the vote in the House failed, workers at the Department of Homeland Security were informed about how to react. And, a new plan was proposed by those who hope to force the President to drop his plans to temporarily give undocumented immigrants legal status.

In the Senate, an Emotional Hearing over In-state Tuition for Dreamers

The Senate Higher Education Committee met on Tuesday to hold a hearing on Senate Bill 44, sponsored by Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta). The bill would allow illegal immigrants covered under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to pay in-state tuition at most University System colleges and universities (although not the state’s elite universities), along with schools in the state’s Technical College System. There are some 19,000 people in Georgia who have qualified for the DACA program, which requires those applying to show that they have lived in the United States for a certain period of time, are in school or have graduated, have not been convicted of a serious crime, and have paid a $495 filing fee.

Leading off witness testimony was D.A. King of the Dustin Inman Society, who pointed out that the DACA program was instituted unilaterally by President Obama. He urged lawmakers to “let this bill die in committee.” Also speaking against the bill was Phil Kent. Kent said that “we don’t know who these people are,” and maintained that those eligible for the DACA program were using fake documents. He made the point that by allowing Dreamers to enroll at in-state tuition rates, the slots that they take couldn’t be taken by citizens and legal immigrants. Although Kent was appointed by Governor Deal to Georgia’s Immigration Enforcement Review Board, Kent said his comments were his own, not the board’s.

King and Kent were in the among the few speaking against the bill. Other witnesses, including Matt Hicks, a language arts teacher at Cedar Shoals High School in Athens, favored the bill’s passage. Hicks said that, as a teacher, his challenge is to provide students with hope. He claimed that Senate Bill 44 would provide hope for a new set of students to achieve in the classroom.

The most emotional testimony came from a female who said she took a risk by enrolling in the DACA program. In tears, she said she wanted to touch the hearts of the Senators on the committee. “I was supposed to be in the first generation [of my family] to go to college, but I can’t.” She also threw shade on Phil Kent’s statements, saying that while some people claim that they don’t know who DACA students are, she has a social security number to pay taxes, and has provided additional documentation in order to become qualified for DACA.

After the testimony concluded, Chairman Millar reminded those in attendance the committee would not be holding a vote on SB 44 because the issue of undocumented students paying in-state tuition is under litigation. He said he thought that had a vote been held on Tuesday, it would have failed to pass the committee. Yet, he held out hope it might pass in the future, especially if Georgia followed the lead of two other southern states who have granted in-state tuition benefits to Dreamers, Florida and Texas.

Based on a fact sheet from the University of Texas at Austin, for an undocumented student to qualify for in-state tuition in Texas, he or she must meet the following four criteria:

  1. Graduate from a public or private high school, or receive a GED, in Texas;
  2. Reside in Texas for at least the 3 years leading up to high school graduation or receiving a GED;
  3. Reside in Texas for the 12 consecutive months right before the semester the student is enrolling in college; and
  4. Provide the institution an affidavit stating that they will file an application to become a U.S. permanent resident as soon as they are eligible to do so.

Placing some reasonable restrictions on who might qualify for in state tuition under the DACA program is worth discussing prior to passage of SB 44, or similar legislation. It’s especially important given the fact that a week from today, US Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin accepting DACA applicants of any age, based on President Obama’s executive action from last November.

Senate Committee Hearing On SB 44 Today At 3p–UPDATE: Meeting Not Being Held Due To No Agenda


The Senate Higher Education Committee will not have a meeting this afternoon. According to Sen. Fran Millar, the committee would normally meet at 3 PM on Thursdays, however there never was an agenda sent out 24 hours prior to the meeting time as required, and ultimately, the meeting was canceled.

Millar says that his committee will hold a hearing on SB 44 at some point during the current session. He does not, however, think the bill will get a pass recommendation, due to the fact that the matter is in litigation. Our post was based on a press release from Asian Americans Advancing Justice received early this morning. We regret the error, and blame others.
Read more

Rep. Jody Hice Gives His First Remarks From House Floor

Representative Jody Hice, the newly sworn-in Republican Congressman from Georgia’s 10th Congressional District recently gave his first speech from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. You can watch Representative Hice’s comments in the video clip below:

Although Rep. Hice’s remarks were about setting the debate rules for 3 bills (including H.R. 240), he minced no words when it came to criticizing President Obama for overstepping the powers of the executive branch by failing to “faithfully carry out the  laws” passed by Congress. He also critiques the President for ignoring existing immigration laws “to achieve his executive amnesty objectives.”

H.R. 240, titled as the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, consists of measures to defund President Obama’s recently announced plans to defer deportation for millions of illegal immigrants, and to allow many of them to obtain work permits. This bill is also considered unlikely to pass the U.S. Senate due to the lack of Democratic support needed for its passage.

Meng Lim Sworn In As Superior Court Judge

In December, Charlie wrote about how Dean C. Bucci was appointed as a Superior Court Judge in the Paulding Circuit. With that appointment, Bucci became the first Hispanic to serve on the Superior Court. On Thursday Meng H. Lim was sworn in as the first Asian-American Superior Court Justice in Georgia.

Superior Court Justice Meng Lim is sworn in but Chief Justice Hugh Thompson.
Superior Court Justice Meng Lim is sworn in but Chief Justice Hugh Thompson. Photo: Jon Richards

Lim is a resident of Bremen in Haralson County, and will serve in the Tallapoosa Circuit. He immigrated to the United States from Cambodia when he was nine years old. After learning English and attending college, he served ten years as a county attorney before deciding he would run for the seat on the Superior Court. Lim was elected in the July runoff with 61% of the vote, after surviving an initial four candidate primary.

In the courtroom of the Georgia Supreme Court yesterday, history was made. Congratulations to Judge Lim.

After GOP Votes to Defund Action On Immigration, AJC Poll Shows Support For Slowing Deportations

A new poll of Georgia residents conducted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution finds that a majority supports allowing illegal immigrant parents who have lived in the United States for five years and have no serious criminal convictions to remain in the country without being deported. This position mirrors the executive action announced by President Obama last November.

The AJC poll shows an equal percentage of men and women — 67 percent — support providing deportation deferrals and work permits to immigrant parents living without papers in the U.S. Support among Democratic respondents totaled 77 percent. That number dropped to 59 percent for Republicans.

Seventy-four percent of blacks indicated support compared with 62 percent of whites. Those living in metro Atlanta showed the most support — at 80 percent — compared with people in other parts of the state. The youngest group of those surveyed — ages 18-39 — support it the most at 78 percent. Those 40-64 years old showed the least support at 59 percent.

The AJC released the poll on the same day that the U.S. House voted to effectively roll back the President’s order. All of Georgia’s Republican representatives voted for the measure. To be fair, Georgia’s representatives explained their votes by citing an overreach of presidential authority. Presidential overreach was also the reason that Attorney General Sam Olens joined a Texas lawsuit seeking redress from the President’s actions.

Opposition to illegal immigration has become a driving force for many in the Tea Party, and immigration was used as a wedge issue in Georgia’s election campaigns. Yet, with a majority of Georgians — especially millennials — supporting relief for some undocumented immigrants, is it time to reconsider how many in the GOP approach the issue?